New Farm Bill

New Farm Bill Increases Access to Financing for Rural Communities

The 2018 Farm Bill passed in Congress has increased the population limit for communities seeking financing via the USDA guaranteed loan program.

This new Farm Bill, also known as the “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018,” amended the definition of “rural” and “rural area” under section 343(a)(13) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to provide that a city or town that has a population of up to 50,000 inhabitants is eligible for loan guarantees for water, wastewater, and essential community facilities.

Previously only communities with up to 10,000 inhabitants were eligible for Water and Environmental Program (WEP) guaranteed loans and up to 20,000 inhabitants for Community Facility (CF) guaranteed loans. This increase to 50,000 inhabitants means an over 3,000 additional U.S. communities have access to financing through the guaranteed program. (The population increase is only applicable for guaranteed loans only, not direct loans).

The bill also amends the definition of “rural area” in section 601(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to provide that a city or town that has a population up to 50,000 inhabitants is eligible for guaranteed loans in the Rural Broadband program (Section 6202).

The new Farm Bill changes are an incredible benefit to rural communities throughout the United States. For many communities, this means having access to USDA guaranteed financing for infrastructure for the very first time, including for WEP, CF, and Broadband.  Before the Farm Bill, many of these same communities might not have been otherwise able to afford infrastructure upgrades.

For many communities, this means having access to USDA guaranteed financing for infrastructure for the very first time Click To Tweet

Live Oak Bank is committed to supporting the financing needs of rural America. We have dedicated lending teams focused on WEP, CF, and Broadband, as well as Solar and Bioenergy. Within each team, we have experts who have proven track records and industry experience in each of these fields. Due to their experience and expertise, they can help guide our borrowers through the process and offer an exceptional level of customer service. We also have an entire team dedicated to processing USDA loans which increases our speed and efficiency.

Live Oak Bank is committed to supporting the financing needs of rural America. Click To Tweet

Despite the new Farm Bill passing in Congress and being signed by President Trump in 2018, the Agency (USDA) is still reviewing the approved legislation to implement the new regulations.  We expect these changes to be fully implemented by May 2020, with applications starting in October of 2019. If your community has water, wastewater, community facility or broadband needs, reach out to us, and we can help you determine your eligibility.

You can also visit the USDA website to learn more about these programs: